Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/355
EMOTIONS AND INFECTION. 343
violent emotion is capable of causing and of curing intermittent fever. In the latter part of June, 1889, M, Jullien, a surgeon of Saint-Lazare, called me in consultation over a neurasthenic and hypochondriac patient who thought he was suffering from ataxy. He was a vigorous man, without any stigmatic marks of degener- escence, but very emotional. He had had some attacks of marsh fever in Poland about twelve years before, but had not suffered from it since. At St. Petersburg, when near the place where Czar Alexander II tragically perished, he experienced a violent emotion, after which he suffered for three days attacks of well- characterized fever. A new attack came on at Paris a few months before my visit, corresponding with the emotion he ex- perienced on finding a friend dead in the Hopital Beaujon.
The old authors give the moral emotions a part in most erup- tive fevers. "We meet them in the etiology of cholera. Pneu- monia sometimes appears on the occasion of a strong moral emo- tion. Rostan relates the story of a woman who was suddenly struck with a very severe pneumonia on receiving news of the death of her son. Grisalle observed it in a woman who, learning that she had been robbed, experienced instantly a violent attack, which was followed promptly by a chill, a stitch in the side, and spitting of blood.
Depressing emotions often seem to have an action on the de- velopment of tuberculosis. Laennec believed that griefs and annoyances were imxwrtant constituents in the frequency of phthisis in large cities.
Puerperal infection is also favored by depressing moral emo- tions. " I have often in my practice,^' says M. Hervieux, " seen young women in childbed, in a fair way toward recovery, take a chill and become mortally ill after a visit or untimely reproaches from their mother or relatives ; or after the agitation or per- plexity occasioned by their resolving to abandon their child, un- fortunate girls, till then doing well, falling ill on carrying out the resolution and succumbing in a short time." Riviere, Willis, Den- man, Delaroche, Paul Dubois, Alexis Moreau, Tonneld, and others attribute an important part in the etiology of diseases of women in childbed to the moral affections ; and this opinion is supported by more recent observations.
Tlie emotions, likewise, have a part in the evolution of surgical diseases, and particularly in their infectious complications. The theories recentlj'" put forth to explain contagion and immunity from infectious diseases may agree with the facts we have learned relative to the influence of the emotions. Among these theories is one to which the facts lend an important support. In this theory the mesodermic cells, and particularly the white globules, are charged with the protection of the organism against the in-